Friday, April 30, 2010

Thou Shall Not

Though we didn't spend much time in the pristine white building with the steeple that was up the gravel road about a mile from our house, we were taught the 10 commandments by our mother. There was no classroom style teaching but lessons applied per incidence. Stories were told at Easter and Christmas. Religious teachings she had learned in her childhood, she communicated to us on these holidays. It's a good thing Mom had these stories because most of the time Christmas morning yielded fruit nuts, and candy and a big festival dinner. If it was a very good year she might have managed to spend a 1.00 on something beneath the tree besides the fruits and nuts and candy. Not one of us was ever disappointed. I can't remember anyone ever making a request for what they wanted nor expecting anything. I now know there must have been some children that are much like the ones today. Christmas approaches and they have a list of "wants" but I didn't know any of these children. Maybe, by the time the holidays were over and school commenced, these children didn't discuss what they had found beneath their trees.
Easter approached and everyone gathered to boil eggs and color them. Mom hid those eggs and her seven children hunted for them and the lesson of what Easter was about was taught with more stories from Mom. Occasionally we would walk that gravel road to the church on Sunday but it wasn't something that was done on schedule and it was our choice on whether we went or not. Religion was loose and casual around our house although Mom's rosary was kept at her bedside and a big cross was hung above her bed.
I knew where I was going with this post when started so I'll have to steer it back to those commandments.
Lying. We dare not lie. We would get in less trouble from the parents if we just told the truth. How many times did I hear "don't lie to me" and I didn't. A capital offense in our house that was punished by the switch. A switch would be that portion of the tree that was removed and used to whale on the behinds and legs of the child. Child abuse? Not to worry. You could get switched for lying and the parents wouldn't go to jail for it back in the day. You learned lessons by the switch if you were so bold as to do what you were told not to do.
I ran into a case of lying last night. I asked, was told and then I cautioned about the consequences of lying. Capital punishment would not be a switching but a denial of a much wanted item. He affirmed the lie and though I knew he was lying I had no proof. I'm not speaking of the husband here least you get the idea I caught him steamed up with some petite little blond. It was the grandson and his report card.
Not a minute passed until I had the truth. Sitting beside me in the car as we rode to his house, I phoned his mother and the truth was gained in almost the same breath of time as the lie was delivered.
I could continue with his and my reactions to this but it would only get ugly. I hate being lied to. It makes me furious and I was.
When I mentioned this to his mother, her response was "Oh mom, everybody lies".
I was appalled. Is this the lesson we teach now? Is this the truth about lies? My friends' children are famous for this and with a straight face, dead on eye contact and nary a fidget, they spout lies. Lies woven into stories about what is going on in their lives. Lies in conversation that later you wondered why you were even having these conversations. I'm not one to bear this without confrontation. I will call you on that lie if you are a child or grandchild. It's a life lesson but how far does this lesson extend. I don't' even think it embarrasses them but only makes them angry that they were called on it. Ms. Dee has raised three fine teenagers that were never a trial to her. All went through primary grades and off to college where they stress out over their exams, keep part time jobs and are very respectful to parents, family and friends. I shall ask her today if lying is part of and expected from her children.
I plan on doing a little survey. Will the parents be truthful about their child's truthfulness? Do they feel the same way. "Everybody lies" and is that acceptable to them?
Isn't this a part of morals instilled in children as they are raised or is this just not important? Do they get by with it for a while which builds their confidence in lying? It doesn't work forever and that's what I told the grandson. It was not a good night and for this I'm saddened but not enough to have not called him on it.


  1. Almost everyone lies and most of them are from some sense of fear. I expect to be lied to, but not by my "inner circle." When someone close lies to me our relationship is damaged. If they lie about something small and insignificant ...

  2. I brought my children up to understand that whatever they did in life I would always love them and forgive them, but so long as they always told me the truth. I cannot and will not tolerate lies. Maybe it's our generation who put so much store by this? I don't know...but the ease with which the young are able to lie these days is quite worrying.
    Good post Charlotte Ann x

  3. Thank you both, Buffalo and Ayak for your comments. I guess it's that inner circle thing that bothers me the most and Yes, Ajak, maybe it was our generation or maybe the parents today don't place any importance on morals.

  4. ah ah now is that what i said in full? Isnt it lying if you dont repeat the whole truth and just a partial truth is still a lie. Thats what my mom told me. Withholding information is the same as lying.

  5. I am of your generation too, and I taught my kids never to lie. I myself, try my very best to never lie and to have integrity. I would be very upset if I found out any of my family or friends had lied to me. Little children have to learn, but once past about 2nd grade, every child knows right from wrong and can be taught consequences if they do lie. Just because everyone does it does not make it right. We need a lot more teaching on the subject in our homes, I feel.


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